Social proof is an absolutely fascinating topic. It is incredible to think that many people will make choices about services — their decisions that will make them satisfied or not — based on how other people will view those choices.
It would seem, then, that not only are we trying to satisfy our own needs and wants, but we crave public acceptance; we want to know that the way we fulfilled our needs and wants was acceptable.
More often than not, that craving for social proof is a very good thing.
A recent study wondered if those people prone to wanting public approval and those people who didn't acted differently when making decisions. The example is this experiment was fashion.
Before they brought out the fashion labels, the researchers had the subjects take an attention to social comparison information (ATSCI) scale to see which participants would be more or less attentive to public scrutiny.
When the groups were separated and the fashion items were shown, what were the results? Well, the people on the high end of the ATSCI scale were much more likely to select less prestigious brands if the higher-end product had a large logo. Yes, even the sense of prestige kowtows to the mighty power of social acceptance. Awesome find.
What can marketers and fashion designers take away? Big, noticeable logos are flying out of the window. Get with the times.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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